About Learning Lab 

Learning Lab provides spaces for people to explore issues of migration, the creative arts and social change, together with the role and value of the arts and culture in society. Learning Lab is committed to the collective power of public learning and the constructive risks entailed in pushing the boundaries of accepted knowledge and practice.

Types of Engagement

Learning Lab opens up space for thinking and doing. The discussions take many forms: 

  • round-tables
  • extended workshops
  • practical studios
  • mentoring
  • screenings
  • interviews
  • on-line engagement.

They are designed to facilitate lively, imaginative debate and forge alliances between creative artists, cultural workers, curators, educators, community organisers, advocacy and not-for-profit and cultural business sectors. The design of the lab fits the topic being explored.


Learning Lab Editions is where learning is shared in the form of freely accessible resources: including films, audio, interviews (both short and longer form) and on video/podcast and transcribed. You can also access critical essays, working papers, project case studies and reviews (both long and short).

An example of published work includes the short film and memoir above, 'Digging Up The Arts Garden', by former Senior Strategy Officer at Arts Council England, Hassan Mahamdallie, which looks at art and its critical relationship with society.


Migration Lab: Art on the Front Line - Art / Human Rights / Refugees - Dublin - June 2016

Artists communicate what is often difficult to put into words, saying it with clarity and directness through imagery or through making something that shows urgency and purpose. 
It is these qualities that artists can bring to bear on one of the biggest crises of our times, as a catalyst for action and for the assertion of human rights. 

This call to action for artists and for civil society lay at the heart of this gathering in Dublin which stood in solidarity with Refugee Week UK and beyond.

Counterpoints Arts, Fire Station Artists’ Studios, Immigrant Council of Ireland, and the Irish Film Institute hosted Migration Lab. Supported by the Community Foundation of Ireland, British Council Ireland, Creative Europe Desk, Ireland Office and Arts Council of Ireland.

Migration Lab took place in conjunction with the Irish Film Institute's screening of 'Fire at Sea'.  

The Lab involved an array of artists / activists: Marta Wallander, Juan delGado, Grainne Hassett, Bobby Lloyd and contributors: Norah Casey, Razan Ibraheem, Ismail Einashe, Karen Moynihan, Áine O'Brien, Helen Carey, Niels Righolt, Almir Koldzic, Sally Lavern, Chrissie Tiller, Brian Killoran, Maureen Freely, Ailbhe Murphy, Dijana Rakovic, Marcelo Sánchez-Camus and others. A full Migration Lab programme can be viewed below.

Click here to find out more about Migration Lab Dublin and other Lab events.

How Learning Lab Started 

When Counterpoints Arts (formerly FOMACS) formed the Learning Lab in collaboration with the British Council back in Dublin in 2010, a space was designed that would bring diverse learners together to debate, share, trade, reflect and step outside their busy everyday work lives. Artists, activists, educators and cultural workers, among others, contributed to Labs facilitated by international leaders (mentors) in separate yet integrated fields of the arts, journalism, creative writing, human rights law and multicultural pedagogy.

The conceptual lead for the Learning Lab was taken from cultural studies scholar, Stuart Hall, who describes cultural identities as having histories, constantly undergoing ‘transformation’. Lab Leaders were invited to bring their practices and ways of creative thinking to the broader question of ‘cultural identity and social justice’ with a strong focus on migration. What resulted was a rich mix of activities: public events, screenings, workshops and round-tables.